How to say 'myself' in Thai.
Emphatic and reflective pronouns
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Lingo Ninja Research Team
3 min read · published June 22, 2021 · last update July 7, 2021
There are two different grammatical structures that use pronouns like myself, himself, oneself, yourself, etc.:
  • emphatic pronouns, e.g. "I did it myself." They emphasize who did the action.
  • reflexive pronouns, e.g. "I love myself." They show that the 'action' reflects back on the 'doer'.
In addition, we will see how to express doing something 'by oneself' in Thai. All these structures utilize the word เอง by oneself
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. At the end of this article, we will look at one more use for เอง by oneself
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, very similar to the emphatic pronoun. 

Thai emphatic pronoun เอง

Definition: Emphatic pronouns are pronouns as himself, myself, or yourself used for emphasis of who did the action. E.g. "I did it myself."

In Thai, the emphatic pronoun is built by using เอง by oneself
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using the following patterns:

Examples

You could use the following sentences, for example, as answers to the question "Wo did it?" or "Who wants to do it?"

I myself (am the one) who did (it).
ผม I (for men); hair
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เอง by oneself
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ที่ at (for locations)
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ทำ do, make, cook
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Literally: I - self - who - do

I did (it) myself.
ผม I (for men); hair
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ทำ do, make, cook
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เอง by oneself
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Literally: I - do - self

I myself am the one who did (it).
ผม I (for men); hair
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เอง by oneself
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เป็น be, is, am, are
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คน person, human; person
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ทำ do, make, cook
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Literally: I - self - be - person - do

I myself (am the one) who did (it).
ตัว body; animals, clothing, furniture
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ผม I (for men); hair
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เอง by oneself
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ที่ at (for locations)
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ทำ do, make, cook
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Literally: body - I - self - do

Thai reflexive pronoun ตัว(เอง)

Definition: Reflexive pronouns show that the 'action' reflects back on the 'doer', or in more technical terms, the action of the verb reflects back onto the subject. E.g. "I love myself."

In Thai, the reflexive pronoun is built using one of the following patterns.  Which pattern is used depends on the verb.

Examples

to look after oneself - ดู watch, look
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แล see, look, watch
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ตัว body; animals, clothing, furniture
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เอง by oneself
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to ask oneself            - ถาม ask
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ตัว body; animals, clothing, furniture
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เอง by oneself
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to love oneself           - รัก love
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ตัว body; animals, clothing, furniture
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เอง by oneself
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to be self-confident - มั่นใจ be confident
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ใน in, inside
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ตัว body; animals, clothing, furniture
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เอง by oneself
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to teach oneself        - สอน teach
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ตัว body; animals, clothing, furniture
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เอง by oneself
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to help oneself (also means to masturbate)
                                    - ช่วย help
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ตัว body; animals, clothing, furniture
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เอง by oneself
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to adapt oneself              - ปรับ adjust, improve
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ตัว body; animals, clothing, furniture
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to dress oneself               - แต่ง put on clothing, dress
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ตัว body; animals, clothing, furniture
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to prepare oneself           - เตรียม prepare
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ตัว body; animals, clothing, furniture
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to watch out for oneself - ระวัง be careful
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ตัว body; animals, clothing, furniture
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to sell oneself                   - ขาย sell
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ตัว body; animals, clothing, furniture
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to forget oneself              - ลืม forget
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ตัว body; animals, clothing, furniture
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to excuse oneself             - ขอ ask for (polite)
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ตัว body; animals, clothing, furniture
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to play hard to get           - เล่น play
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ตัว body; animals, clothing, furniture
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to know one's place (to be aware of one's position / to do as told)
                                           - รู้ know
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ตัว body; animals, clothing, furniture
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'by oneself' ด้วยตัวเอง

The following patterns express doing something by oneself. In contrast to just using เอง by oneself
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(see above), these patterns emphasize doing something alone, without any help or assistance, similar to the English phrase "all by myself":

Examples

I fixed the car by myself
ผม I (for men); hair
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ซ่อม to repair / fix something
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รถ Vehicle
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ด้วย request word; also, too
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ตัว body; animals, clothing, furniture
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เอง by oneself
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Literally: I - repair - car - by - body - self

We did (it) by ourselves.
เรา we; I (informal)
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ทำ do, make, cook
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ด้วย request word; also, too
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ตัว body; animals, clothing, furniture
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เอง by oneself
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Literally: we - do - by - body - self

He studied by himself
เขา he; she, they
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เรียน study
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ด้วย request word; also, too
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ตน oneself, self; quantifier for giants, angels and demons
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เอง by oneself
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Literally: he - study - by - person - self

Emphasizing with เอง

เอง by oneself
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is also used to emphasize objects or persons, meaning "exactly the one"

Examples

Exactly this friend.
เพื่อน friend
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คน person, human; person
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นี้ this
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เอง by oneself
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Literally: friend - person - this - exactly

Exactly that day.
วัน day
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นั้น that, those
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เอง by oneself
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Literally: day - that - exactly

Right now.
เดี๋ยวนี้ now
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เอง by oneself
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Literally: now - exactly
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